Laura’s Psychology Blog

One Professor’s Observations of the World of Psychology….   

February 12, 2014

readings in psychology for 12 february 2014 @PsychScience

Sometimes we just want to chase Geese!

Sometimes we just want to chase Geese!

Here is what I am reading today:

“Many people complain about having the “winter blues.” After weeks of snow, sleet, and slush, it can be difficult to maintain a cheerful attitude.

In some cases, people go beyond the normal “blues” and experience symptoms that will be diagnosed as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).”

Some have been spotted as high as 30 feet up a tree!

“Left-handers are often excluded from study cohorts in neuroscience and neurogenetics in order to reduce variance in the data. However, recent investigations have shown that the inclusion or targeted recruitment of left-handers can be informative in studies on a range of topics, such as cerebral lateralization and the genetic underpinning of asymmetrical brain development. Left-handed individuals represent a substantial portion of the human population and therefore left-handedness falls within the normal range of human diversity; thus, it is important to account for this variation in our understanding of brain functioning. We call for neuroscientists and neurogeneticists to recognize the potential of studying this often-discarded group of research subjects.”

“Nature marks the anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s On The Origin Of Species 150 years ago, with a special on biodiversity. As nations prepare progress reports on their pact to reduce the rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010, International Year of Biodiversity, Pavan Sukhdev urges governments to secure the flows of nature’s ‘public goods’. Meanwhile, William R. Turner and colleagues argue that natural ecosystems be made abulwark against climate change, Robert J. Smith and colleagues propose that local agencies need to set the conservation research agenda and Douglas Erwin calls upon paleontologists to create models of the root causes of biodiversity. Features examine Brazil’s forests and species barcodes, and there’s a profile of ecosystem services advocate Gretchen Daily.”

“t seems simple: People are more likely to cooperate if everyone plays fair. But a new study suggests that fairness itself arises from an unlikely source: spite. Researchers made a mathematical model based on the so-called ultimatum game. In it, two players are offered a reward, and the first player makes an offer for how it should be split up. If the second player agrees, then they divide it accordingly. But if the second player refuses, then neither gets the reward.”

“A 2012 study by researchers led by Northwestern University psychologist Eli Finkel concluded there was no algorithm that could predict a successful match, notwithstanding the claims of online dating firms.

“No compelling evidence supports matching sites’ claims that mathematical algorithms work,” said the study published in the journalPsychological Science in the Public Interest.”

meditation and love

“”When we truly, selflessly wish for the well-being of others, we’re not getting that same rush of excitement that comes with, say, a tweet from our romantic love interest, because it’s not about us at all,” said Judson Brewer, adjunct professor of psychiatry at Yale now at the University of Massachusetts.

Brewer and Kathleen Garrison, postdoctoral researcher in Yale’s Department of Psychiatry, report their findings in a paper scheduled to be published online Feb. 12 in the journal Brain and Behavior.”

 

 

 

14 Responses to “readings in psychology for 12 february 2014 @PsychScience”

  1. Luke Simon Says:

    Finding an “algorithm” for love is not only hard, but it probably will never happen. No website can make a “perfect match,” no matter what technique they use; this is because there is no such thing as a perfect match. Every couple is going to struggle with something down the road, and whether that struggle occurs on the first date or on their wedding day is unpredictable. We are all unique humans. As far as attractiveness goes, a website can be much more successful. But this only goes so far in a relationship; if the personality is unattractive, the supposed “perfect match” will become overall unattractive as well.

  2. kdouglas Says:

    It does not surprise me that the reward areas that correspond to doing something to help others and doing something for oneself are different. It all comes down to motive. Different motivations will trigger separate parts of the brain because the desire behind the actions is different. The finding that is most intriguing to me is the one pertaining to the area for selfless love and mediation being the same as the reward pathway for cocaine. Drugs lead to addiction, which is a disorder in which one strives to attain as much as a substance as possible for oneself. Doing things to help others is the polar opposite, but it can be addicting as well, in a benevolent way.

  3. Ali G Says:

    The crocodiles that climb trees remind me of the concept of behavior affecting the biology of an organism or biology affecting the behavior. From what is said in the article, it seems as if the crocodiles behavior is caused by biology because the crocodiles are climbing the trees in order to regulate temperature and observe the environment. They are probably trying to scavenge for food or locate other resources they may need. It would be interesting to find out what has changed in the animal’s environment, which caused the crocodiles to begin climbing trees because that may determine why crocodiles are climbing up trees and will help determine if it truly is the biology of the animal that affects the crocodile’s behavior.

  4. Ali G Says:

    I do not know where I stand on “In the age of love” article. I believe that some people really benefit from dating websites, but that does not mean that everybody will. It is good for people to get some help and just go out on dates and meet new people. I definitely do not believe that there is a simple algorithm that can perfectly match two people together. I do believe that these dating sites are more detrimental than beneficial though. Humans are meant to be social, and these interaction we have, without the use of technology, help us all grow and develop. If people spent more time participating in different activities then maybe they would be able to find a person that they are compatible with instead of paying money for a website to guess who they think would be perfect for them based on the similarities they have with each other. I personally believe that the way you meet someone plays a big part in how successful the relationship will be, so hopefully people will just take more time to themselves and find someone without technology.

  5. eilamarinero Says:

    In the article about crocs climbing trees, they claim that the behavior of climbing trees was considered a characteristic of extinct crocodilians. This behavior may be due to the weather change due to global warming. If global warming is causing all kinds of behavior changes in animals in order to adapt, this could be one of them. Just a thought..

  6. jclary Says:

    I read the crocodile article and found it to be quite intriguing. Who knew the crocodiles actually climb trees! At first this confused me because crocodiles don’t really seem to have the anatomical structure to climb things, but I guess when there is a will there is a way. The articles says that, “they suggest the behavior exists as a means for regulating body temperature and surveying the environment”. It reminds me of the first idea we went over in class where biology affects behavior. The crocodiles are much like larger cold blooded lizards that climb to the top of rocks so that they can bask in the sun and warm their overall body temperature. The cold-bloodedness is the ‘biology’ while the climbing trees is the ‘behavior’. Overtime behavior might then also affect biology where crocodiles become even more adapted to climbing than before as the ones that can regulate their body temperature better, survive and pass on their traits to their offspring.

  7. jclary Says:

    I read the article about meditation and love and how depressing is that! The articles states that, “The reward centers of the brain that are strongly activated by a lover’s face (or a picture of cocaine) are almost completely turned off when a meditator is instructed to silently repeat sayings such as “May all beings be happy.” It seems that there are two different types of love with a significant other. The type that is selfish and is rewarded by being looked at while the other it a much more giving love. It was interesting to know that the selfish type was correlated with cocaine, maybe because it gives people an uplifting feeling where they become enfatuated with one another. I believe that love at first can become almost addictive much like a drug and turns into something much deeper that we see as the selfless side.

  8. BonnieBurns Says:

    I found the article about Seasonal affective Disorder (SAD) to be very interesting. I have always been confused by SAD as I don’t understand how one could become depressed simply by the weather. I love each of the seasons and all they encompass even if that’s dark snowy cold days or humid long hot days. However, after reading the article I can now see how some people may develop this disorder due to biological functions. I was surprised that the circadian rhythms have such a big impact on the development of SAD. But it does make sense that they are linked together because serotonin which influences mood, is impacted by light. I wonder if one could take supplements of serotonin if they had this disease in order to help offset the symptoms. Also, I wonder if there is a genetic link to the disease or if there is any pattern with parents and their children having SAD?

  9. BonnieBurns Says:

    The article “In the Age of Love” brings out some interesting points in the area of love and online dating. I agree with the article that websites cannot use an algorithm to calculate and create matches of love. There are too many factors in the individuals seeking love and it would be impossible to develop a formula to make love matches between people. It does seem like a good proposal to match people based on similarities and mutual likings, with the plan that if similarities between people coincide then it is more likely that they will develop a cohesive relationship. I also found it interesting to see the large amount of people that do find love through the internet. It still seems like a relatively new relationship finder to me, but I think it is great that people are accepting that it can be a new way to find your perfect match. However, I wonder if the new popularity of online dating is affecting the person-to-person dating that is traditional, like by altering norms of communication and behavior?

  10. kwebb822 Says:

    I found the article on “left-handedness in neuroscience” really interesting. Being left handed myself I have always been curious of the differences from right handed people. As they said left handed people are not a rare breed. Although, I am ambidextrous, so this is probably out of the normal spectrum of neuroscience studies. I am looking forward to reading more studies on left-handedness in the future.

  11. Alexandra Grundler Says:

    I am very interested in the study of love and the fundamental differences of self-seeking and selfless love. I think it is a misapprehension to believe that love has to be self-seeking, or done with the sole desire of reciprocity, to be rewarding. Although, my definition of reward is not the utilization of the dopaminergic pathway. My perspective is more focused on theology than neurology. Although, I don’t believe the two to be mutually exclusive by any means. I think they go hand in hand. I believe the greatest reward is in selfless love because it is doing what is honorable in God’s eye. I believe the most worthy love is exemplified by God. John 3:16
    New International Version (NIV)
    16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
    John 15:12-14
    New International Version (NIV)
    12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

  12. Alexandra Grundler Says:

    After reading the article on Seasonal Affective Disorder, I feel that I may have taken my location for granted. We really are so blessed to be living in sunny, coastal California. The weather, even in our winter months, is so beautiful. I felt the despair of fall quarter dead week (probably partially because it was dead week) because it was grey and hit about 30 degrees. That weather was exhausting. It is so much easier to get out of bed in the morning when the sun is out. It makes each day feel new and fresh and keeps your circadian rhythm knowing that as well. When the weather is grey, it all feels like a blur. We are so lucky! I am very happy to call California my home.

  13. mackenzierowe Says:

    In response to “Meditation and Love”

    As twenty-somethings, many of us may not have experienced the type of selfless, genuine love that seems to “turn off” the reward center of the brain. We’re young and personally I believe if there’s a time to be a little bit selfish, it’s at this stage in our lives. Speaking for myself, I feel as if I’ve only experienced this kind of a connection with family members and a few close friends. This article reminded me of a discussion I had in a previous psychology class about whether or not altruism truly exists. Of course, we’d all like to think we’re being selfless when we love or commit a random act of kindness. But I’ve certainly caught myself making a mental note that so-and-so “owes” me because I did this nice thing for her. I think it could be beneficial for all of us to practice simple, daily meditations as recommend in the article in order to rid ourselves of this habit of doing good for selfish reasons.

  14. eilamarinero Says:

    ScienceShot: Did Fairness Evolve From Spite?
    This article makes sense the ultimate reasoning behind “fairness” can be quite deceiving. whether the motive behind playing fair be altruism, cooperation, selfishness, or spite no one can be 100% sure of. I can say that I have at some point in my life have had other intentions behind my cooperative actions

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It is not a lack of love,
but a lack of friendship
that makes unhappy marriages
-------- Nietzsche

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